A promo image for ESPN alternate F1 broadcast "The Grandstand" with Will Arnett and Daniel Ricciardo. A promo image for ESPN alternate F1 broadcast “The Grandstand” with Will Arnett and Daniel Ricciardo. (ESPN.)

Last month, ESPN announced three planned alternate broadcasts (in conjunction with Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions) for Formula 1 races in North America, featuring actor Will Arnett and driver Daniel Ricciardo. And they held the first one of those The Grandstand broadcasts at the Canadian Grand Prix on June 18. But the next two, set for the United States Grand Prix (Austin, Oct. 22) and the Las Vegas Grand Prix (Nov. 18), are now going to change following Tuesday’s news that Ricciardo (who was serving as a reserve driver for Red Bull Racing) is replacing Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri (also owned by Red Bull):

The team later made that official:

An ESPN spokesperson told Awful Announcing’s Phillip Bupp they didn’t have advance notice on this, but with three months until the next Grandstand broadcast, they’ll have plenty of time to adjust:

“Congratulations to Daniel. We heard this news today when everyone else did. We have more than three months until the next edition of The Grandstand at the United States Grand Prix in Austin so we’ll take our time and figure out the next steps.”

Ricciardo, a 34-year-old Australian, started test-driving for Red Bull and Scuderia Toro Rosso (as AlphaTauri was then known) early last decade. He made his F1 debut in 2011 with HRT, under a loan deal with Red Bull, drove full-time for Toro Rosso in 2012 and 2013, and drove full-time for the main Red Bull team through 2018. He then followed that with stints with Renault (2019-20) and McLaren (2021-22) before signing this reserve driver deal to return to Red Bull. And now he’s back in a regular slot. He told ESPN’s Nate Saunders last month that a return to racing with Red Bull would be a “fairytale” career ending for him, and even mentioned AlphaTauri as perhaps a possibility to get there:

Ricciardo suggested he’s considering how else he might get back into the team, which uses junior outfit AlphaTauri to run other drivers it has under contract.

“This for me would be like the fairytale. Honestly, the fairytale ending [would be] to finish my career here if I could have it all my own way.” Ricciardo told ESPN about racing back at Red Bull in future.

“But we’ll see. I’ll probably have to work my way up a little bit but it’s really nice to be back here.”

So Ricciardo is now at least partway to that fairytale. And that’s going to lead to change with these alternate broadcasts.

[Racer, ESPN]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.